8:06 pm - 12/28/2007

lump in my breast?

I know this probably really isn't the right place for this, but I'm concerned about a lump I found in my breast this morning, and didn't know where else to ask. Please delete this entry if it's too off-topic -  if not, here it goes:

When I woke up, the right side of my breast [I don't know what to call it - sort of where your breast starts to curve away from your underarm?] was very sore and I found a lump that felt like a hard little ball, deep under the skin. I've had swollen lymph nodes in my armpits when I was sick, and this lump sort of feels the same. Anyway, hours later, my breast still hurts and there's a bit of a rash - just a circle of red, irritated-looking skin.

So! My question is this: should I be worried? My stepmother was quick to dismiss it because she had a similar situation when she was my age [17], and it turned out to be nothing, but she was a little disconcerted when I mentioned to her that it hurts fairly badly. The only problem is, my dad just lost his job and we don't have insurance right now. So I guess part two of this question would be, what should I do? Wait a few days and see if it goes away? Get it checked out? Any and all help is appreciated. :)
sprtwrid 29th-Dec-2007 04:20 am (UTC)
this is a great place to ask. Me i would be worried, and would at least seek out a free health clinic in the area (i have a high family history of breast cancer on both sides of the family) but i think most people would say give it a few days. When my husband lost his job, he was covered by insurance until the end of the month.. are you sure your dad lost his immediately?

If its a swollen lymph it needs to be checked out. My friend had one once that got really infected and she had some problems because of it.My husband had one swell up really bad and had to get it cut open to get all the infection out. You could wait awhile, but if it gets worse, or you develop a fever, you'll need it checked out. With you being a minor with no insurance, you might qualify for medicaid or something like it, i would look into it while your dad looks for a new job.
sprtwrid 29th-Dec-2007 04:48 am (UTC)
i just happened to think... is it possible you have just a bug bite? I know when i get bit by fleas, i get a hard bump that turns red days later. Or could you possibly have been bit by a tick? I realized my comment above is kind of alarmist, so i wanted to pick some non scary things :P
rachelish 29th-Dec-2007 04:53 am (UTC)
Me i would be worried, and would at least seek out a free health clinic in the area (i have a high family history of breast cancer on both sides of the family) but i think most people would say give it a few days.

I agree with this. If it hasn't changed in a day or two, I'd probably go to a Planned Parenthood or a similar clinic to get it checked out. If it is something that needs to be looked into further, they might have some resources for people without insurance. All PPs are different, but the average cost for an appointment at my local one (depending on what they do during it) seems to be around $50.
camenzind 29th-Dec-2007 06:11 pm (UTC)
my dad actually lost his job about two weeks ago - he had known about it for a while [the company is outsourcing], but I guess they didn't work in any sort of continuance for our insurance, because I know for sure that we don't have any right now :/

I actually may just do that. I've had swollen lymphs quite a few times in the past few years [usually when I'm sick, but sometimes just out of the blue it seems] I'm not exactly sure if that's normal. if this doesn't go away in about a week then I'll be sure to get it checked out. thanks!
kelsietrpt 29th-Dec-2007 04:21 am (UTC)
Hey hon,

Just to put your mind immediately at rest, it's definitely not breast cancer. Cancer doesn't just appear overnight, and breast cancer hardly ever, ever, ever hurts/creates a rash. My mom just survived breast cancer she'd had for TEN YEARS without knowing about it...so...I'm fairly savvy about this stuff, as I've had a few freak-outs myself that she quickly reassured me about.

That said, my first instinct was to say that this could be an irritated lymph node, an ingrown hair, or an irritation caused by deodorant. I've had the exact same thing happen several times, and what really helps me is a warm compress. Just soak a washcloth in water that is as hot as you can stand, wring it out well, and hold it on the spot. It feels wonderful, and really is helpful. Also, you could pop a few ibuprofen to reduce swelling/pain. Whatever it is, it should clear up within a week or two (at the most).

*hugs* Don't worry! And breast health questions (as far as I know) are always welcome on VagPag!

Feel better,

queensugar 29th-Dec-2007 04:57 am (UTC)
Just to put your mind immediately at rest, it's definitely not breast cancer.

Although I do agree that any given lump is highly unlikely to be breast cancer, given the poster's age, I wouldn't go so far as to say that it is "definitely" not cancerous.

While still relatively rare, inflammatory breast cancer (which accounts for between 1-5% of breast cancer diagnoses in the United States, and is more common among younger women) is frequently detected due to a comparatively sudden onset of redness or a rash on the breast and significant breast pain or tenderness.

That said, it's still overall extremely unlikely that what the OP describes is cancerous; it does sounds more consistent with a swollen lymph node. But it's just usually a good thing to avoid absolutes where no such guarantee can be made.
kelsietrpt 29th-Dec-2007 05:53 am (UTC)
I apologize for being too positive about this. I felt bad about it afterwards and only wish LJ would allow us to edit our comments in hindsight!

I do think it would be safe to wait a couple of days (and do the hot compress!) to see if the lump diminishes/disappears, but yes, if it starts to get much worse or doesn't seem to be budging after about a week, I'd contact a free clinic or Planned Parenthood.

Also, just as a note to the OP, if there's no free clinic/PP in your area, a regular doctor will still be happy to see you and work out a payment plan. I had to go to the emergency room for six stitches and I got saddled with a huge bill, but because I'm in between jobs right now and I have very little money to my name, they reduced my bill for me and gave me the option of paying $20 a month until the bill is paid off. I hope this helps, and I certainly didn't mean to undermine the issue. I just get sad when people jump to the worst scenario (because I do it ALL the time) and lose nights of sleep and sanity. : )


camenzind 29th-Dec-2007 06:04 pm (UTC)
not at all! overly paranoid person that I am, I was happy to see anything that pointed away from cancer. incidentally, I tried the warm compress last night and while I'm still sore, it did help with the pain a LOT. thanks so much!
ohsweetju 29th-Dec-2007 04:39 am (UTC)
Almost thought I was added again :/
jocelina 29th-Dec-2007 04:56 am (UTC)
As other commenters have said, posts about breast health concerns are totally welcome in VP. We even have a tag for this subject. :)

This article from the Mayo Clinic is pretty awesome -- it lists several possible causes of breast lumps other than cancer.

They also recommend (here) that "If you haven't yet gone through menopause, you may want to wait through one menstrual cycle before seeing your doctor. If the change hasn't gone away after a month, have it evaluated promptly." So you may want to wait until your next menstrual cycle rolls around and reevaluate things -- if the lump is still present or your breast is still painful, it is probably a good idea to see a doctor if at all possible.

If you do decide to see a health care provider about this, you might be able to be seen at a free clinic in your area. A good friend of mine was without insurance for several years, and she went to a free clinic several times. She said that the doctors and nurses there were great; the only thing she didn't like was the long wait that usually preceded an office visit. So if you do go to a free clinic, maybe bring a book to keep yourself entertaining in the waiting room. :)
ticktockman 29th-Dec-2007 01:32 pm (UTC)
1. Based on this line from breastcancer.org:

Bring to the attention of your doctor any changes in your breasts that:

* last over a full month's cycle, OR
* seem to get worse or more obvious over time

I'd think it is safe to watch and see for a month instead of seeking an immediate exam. Possibly you could book an appointment for the beginning of February, and then cancel it if the problem goes away before then.

Source: http://www.breastcancer.org/symptoms/testing/self_exam/

2. If, based on an exam, your caregiver recommends a mammogram, here's info on low-cost mamommograms:
Low-cost and free mammography

Most insurance companies cover the cost of mammograms. In addition, in many areas of the country, low-cost or free mammograms are provided as part of the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Control Program or through community organizations, such as the YWCA. In October each year, during Breast Cancer Awareness Month, many radiology facilities offer mammography at reduced rates. To find out how to get a low-cost or free mammogram or to find a certified radiology center in your area, call Susan G. Komen for the Cure’s Breast Care Helpline at 1-800 I'M AWARE (1-800-462-9273). You can also visit the FDA website (http://www.fda.gov/cdrh/mammography/certified.html) to search a list of certified radiology centers.

Also see http://cms.komen.org/Komen/Affiliates/index.htm?ssSourceNodeId=99&ssSourceSiteId=Komen

3. It really looks like Susan G. Komen for the Cure is a good source for information and advice, and also for medical cost assistance. http://cms.komen.org/komen/AboutBreastCancer/index.htm


pretty492 30th-Dec-2007 01:08 am (UTC)
It kind of sounds like a wicked spider bite that may well have infected one of your lymph nodes. I've gotten things like that on my legs before,
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